Key innovations in joint replacements

What was once a critical imperative is now a strategic shift in the field of healthcare, innovation is changing the world around us.

Advancements in the medical device industry have dramatically improved patient outcomes and promised predictable results. A perfect example of this can be seen in the knee replacement surgeries where innovative surgical techniques and implant designs have reduced recovery time.

Today, a new knee almost mimics the original knee. Making use of gender-specific prosthetics, minimally invasive surgery techniques and computer-assisted navigation systems — knee replacement procedures are raising the hopes in many cases where there was none before. 

Total Knee Replacement (TKR) is considered necessary when your knee is damaged beyond repair. The right surgical technique is the most critical factor in deciding the success. 

Total Knee and Hip Replacement in India has evolved into a successful procedure for the management of pain, deformity and motion restriction related to severe degenerative arthritis, with the help of advancements in medical technology.

Near-total recovery

From a time when a patient could only regain 30 to 50% of mobility, incremental innovation in technology has allowed patients to have 80 to 90% recovery, thereby improving the quality of life.

Today, we have new age knee implants and hip implants like Exeter Hip System that have a proven track record of many years. Exeter which is a gold standard in hip replacement, has well established clinical history of 40 years.

There are couple of knee implants available which are amongst the most well accepted knee implants in the developed world due to their innovation prowess, proven track record and well established successful clinical history. 

Millions of patients walking on these implants, enjoying a good quality life and extensive clinical registry data to support, give us the confidence to offer these implants to our Indian patients as well.

High quality innovations have not only made surgery simple and effective, they have also enabled faster recovery, shorter hospital stay, improved range of motion and durability like never before.

Take for instance, pre-plan technology. This radical breakthrough can potentially reduce post-operative complications, making a surgery precise and cost-effective by reducing chances of revision surgeries.

It not only ensures proper prosthetic alignment, but also aids reduced blood loss, safer surgery, shorter hospital stay and minimum surgery time among other advantages.

With these new age implants embedded with sensors, a surgeon can have access to real-time information for positioning of an implant and post-operative evaluation of a patient.

And that’s not all. Technologies like Computer Assisted Knee and Hip Replacement, robotic surgeries have helped improve the accuracy and precision in Total Joint Replacement. Computer Assisted Joint Replacement, for instance, guides surgeons through the surgical process of joint replacement, increases surgical accuracy and reduces the chances of poor alignment.

Accurate implant alignment is crucial to reducing long-term wear and tear and loosening of the implant. Similarly, 3-D printing in orthopaedics is gaining momentum in the production of customised implants, medical devices and orthotics from diverse materials.

The 3-D printing reduces the time of a surgery, is cost-effective and leads to better stability of the implant in the long run.

Furthermore, innovation in knee and hip implants is leading the way to personalised treatment. Using these, a surgeon can identify patients with recalled implants and assess future risks, enabling an earlier intervention to increase the longevity of an implant.

That said, it is important that one chooses knee and hip implants that are of high quality and backed with well-established and successful patient survivorship registry data.

How many patients across the globe have got this implant? What is the success rate of this knee implant? Is it approved by US FDA (Food and Drug Administration)? These are some of the questions patients must enquire when considering knee or hip replacement surgeries. 

In the case of Total Knee Replacement, conventionally, the correct positioning of implants was more dependent on surgeons’ judgment, leaving room for human error.

Credit it to evolving technologies, innovative solutions from around the world are changing the way knee replacements are conducted. By optimising and personalising patient outcomes, intelligent orthopaedics will be the way forward in treatment of TKR surgeries.  

(The writer is Director, Orthopaedics, and Head, Joint Reconstruction, Max Smart Super Specialty Hospital, Saket, New Delhi)

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